Steinbach Community Outreach has received a variance from the city to build a 24-unit affordable housing complex with 30 parking stalls instead of 40.

This proposed apartment complex that SCO is working on takes advantage of a $1.3M affordable housing grant from the province that was announced last year. City council endorsed the project in early November 2021 though there have been some changes in the plan since then.

The initial proposal listed an address along Stonebridge Crossing, however, according to SCO, Bridgepark Manor who owns that property has decided to reserve it for future seniors housing. SCO says they completely respect that decision.

The new proposal will see the affordable housing complex be built at 224 Woodhaven Avenue and will have only one-bedroom and bachelor suites.

SCO Executive Director Irene Kroeker presented at a public hearing on Tuesday asking for permission to have only 30 parking stalls instead of the 40 normally required for 24 suites.

"We looked at our list of people who expressed interest in renting in our building and out of 14 people, there are only four with cars or vehicles.” She adds “As sad as it does seem to us, owning a vehicle is not even within their dreams, never mind a reality at a yearly income of $23,500 to $32,000."

ncerned about the precedent. This is not saying that for other multi-family regular buildings we are going to dramatically lower the parking requirement."

Considering Steinbach Community Outreach is required to keep within affordable housing guidelines set out by the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for at least 20 years, council was unanimous in approving the variance.

This sort of variance is approved not often in Steinbach. In fact, Councillor Jac Siemens, who moved to approve the variance, notes "I am usually one of the first people to hold to that policy of 1.65 stalls per unit and often I have asked to have it raised."

As part of the government grand requirements, the maximum rent for the one-bedroom apartments in the project will be set at $801 and the maximum rent for the bachelor suites will be $581. Those figures include utilities and taxes and are subject to rent control.

Both Irene Kroeker and Reg Penner note this project is a huge step in the right direction but the affordable housing needs in Steinbach go way past these 24 units.